Broncos free agency preview: Guard Ramon Foster would bring needed experience to line

Second in a series looking at players who could be targeted by the Broncos in free agency when the negotiating period begins Monday:


Age: 33

Position: Left guard

Current team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Experience: Ten years (an undrafted free agent in 2009). Foster has started 131 of 146 games at guard for the Steelers. He has not been named to a Pro Bowl. He has missed only eight games since he became a full-time starter in 2011.

Case for: Foster has experience with new offensive line coach Mike Munchak from their time in Pittsburgh and would provide an instant locker room/meeting room leadership component because he knows what is expected. … “His leadership is invaluable to the line, to the room, to the building,” Munchak told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last year. “No one ever tunes him out because what he’s saying is right on.” … Foster won’t command big-time money so the Broncos would retain spending flexibility even if they sign him to a two-year deal and allow them to move Ron Leary to right guard (where he played in 2017). Finally, Foster could be a boon for third-year left tackle Garett Bolles and a center who could be a rookie.

Case against: Like with many free agents, age is at the top — Foster is 33. Plus, the Broncos could decide that Leary, despite coming off an Achilles injury, is better off staying at left guard and they could find a right guard in the draft.


Tape analysis: (Steelers at Broncos, Week 12 of 2018): The Steelers rolled up 527 yards and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked only twice in 60 drop-backs. But the Broncos forced four turnovers in a 24-17 win. … Foster knows how to use his 6-foot-5, 328-pound frame by understanding angles to rub his assignment out of the running lanes and by simply getting in the way. … “He’s always in great position to get the job done and his technique is so good,” Munchak said last year. “That’s the thing with him. Very rarely does he get himself out of position.”… Two things stand out on tape: He stays on his feet and he doesn’t commit penalties. Against the Broncos, the only notable time he was on the turf came when he stepped on a teammate’s foot, allowing Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris to clean up on a tackle. … In the last five years, Foster has only 11 enforced penalties. … The Steelers mostly kept Foster in a phone booth (not a lot of pulling) save for getting into the flat on a receiver screen. … Foster’s experience/awareness is especially visible in pass protection. He easily picked up Von Miller on an inside stunt to start the game, showing good balance as Miller entered his space with speed. On another play, Foster started against nose tackle Domata Peko, but left him when a bigger threat, defensive end Adam Gotsis, beat left tackle Alejandro Villanueva. … Harris posted a quarterback hit of Roethlisberger when he used a bull rush to get into Foster’s pads, making him off balance.